My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fake It Til Ya Make It

Recently, I started working a second job. It is at night and on the weekends. A lot of times, I go to work at my full-time job, then go right to my part-time job and get home between 11 and 11:30 at night.

My husband works a full-time job, is a "part-time" coach, and umpires. He also donates plasma twice a week. He leaves at 6:30 in the morning, and sometimes doesn't get home until midnight.

I talked to my Martha today. She was worried about us individually, and our family as a whole. She listened without judging. She was understanding and compassionate, without making me feel like a complete whackadoodle. She suggested I call and talk to the Bishop. She said she would put our names on the prayer roll at the Temple.

This picture is me on my way to work on Saturday - all day long. I kept telling myself to fake it til I make it. Everyone has their struggles. Everyone has their trials. This is ours. We work five jobs and still can barely (and I mean BARELY) put food on the table. But, we are doing the best we know how to do. We pay our tithing. We have gotten rid of cable. We don't splurge on food. We pack our kids' lunches. We have cars that barely run (and I mean BARELY). And, we are willing to work for everything we have. We are trying. We are a team and we are trying.

I am grateful for the school clothes our families bought the kids. I am grateful for the food Martha and Derek gave us from their pantry and their garden. I am grateful for the free haircut Martha gave Jackson. I am grateful for the health insurance we have. I am grateful that I was able to get a part-time job. I am grateful that Josh is able to donate plasma. I am grateful for the umpiring calls he does get. I am grateful for the shoes and coats my kids have. I am grateful that are cars do run. I am most grateful that we have knowledge of the Gospel, and knowledge that this isn't all for nothing. I am also grateful for my Martha.

Monday, September 28, 2015

LHS Homecoming 2015

Jackson asked America to go to Homecoming with him. She said yes. They went with Ishmael and Leslie and Alex and Ailene. Dinner was served at our house. I worked all day, so Josh did all of the preparation. He made spaghetti, corn, rolls, green salad, and homemade German chocolate cake. It was so fun to listen to them out on our deck laughing and talking.

The other kids were a huge help. Braxton cleared the deck, and put twinkling lights out. Kaydon put the rolls out to rise. Colton vacuumed. It was so nice to have everyone help so that Josh wasn't so stressed out.

The girls looked beautiful (and modest!) and the boys looked dashing. I'm so glad that they had a great time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Big Yellow Thing

Since I started my job, I have wanted to drive one of the big yellow things! I have also wanted to help pave, rake, mill, pick up garbage cans, be a snow-plower, mow the lawns... the list goes on and on and on. Needless to say, they have not let me do a dang thing. For some weird reason, my boss says, "It wouldn't be safe." Whatever.

Today was my big chance! They are getting ready to lay concrete in our parking lot. A couple of the big yellow things (I really don't know any of their names) were in our parking lot. I might have begged for upwards of an hour and a half, just saying. Finally! Finally they said I could get in the small yellow thing.. they told me it's called a mini-excavator. As soon as I got in it, I was terrified.

There are levers and buttons and things every where. They had all the workers move back -- WAAAAAAYYYYY back. Then, one guy was assigned to stay close to me and explain how to do things. Poor guy. I picked up a big piece of asphalt and moved it to the pile. It may have taken upwards of 10 minutes to do that one thing, but I did it. Then the nice guy (Greg) asked me what I wanted to do next. I said, "I want to get out!!!"

That was my experience with the big yellow thing. The end.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sweet Dreams

I took this picture outside of my bedroom window on Wednesday night. I am in awe of the beauty that is around us. Every time I look out of our windows, I am so sad that we only have until June in this house. I know Heavenly Father has big things in mind for our family and that we will be taken care of.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Broken Patience

We had a huge rainstorm yesterday. Apparently, the roof in my office didn't like it so well. I had a huge leak in my office. The nice guy came and fixed it. Thanks, Nice Guy.
These pictures remind me of a nice little "family chat" Josh and I had with Kaydon and Colton on Tuesday night. Josh went downstairs after everyone was in bed to talk to Colton about things Colton had stolen from a drawer in our room. (we have had repeated problems with Colton stealing) Suddenly, I hear full-on yelling. It was Kaydon and Josh. I went downstairs - half asleep - to see what was happening. Kaydon was fired up. He was scowling, laying in bed - folding his arms tightly, and mad as heck. Josh was now talking to Colton about stealing, having wrappers all over their room, and having his dirty clothes covering the floor. First, I asked Kaydon what the problem was. He said, "I hate Dad." I said, "awesome!" Josh looked at him with the most heart-broken look I've ever seen on his face. "Why do you hate me, Kaydon?" "Because you yell all the time!!!" Josh: "Why do I yell, Kaydon?" "Because you like to!" I interjected. I don't remember everything that I said in that room on that night, but I felt strongly that I was being guided. The four of us were in that bedroom for quite some time, and Jackson had come out of his room and was standing out in the hallway. Josh stood against the dresser, speaking now and then. Colton and Kaydon were on their beds. There were tears. What I do remember saying was this: "We are a family. It's perfectly fine for us to day, 'I hate when Dad yells,' or 'I hate when Mom isn't patient,' or 'I hate that I don't get enough time with you guys,' but it is NEVER okay to say, "I hate dad," or "I hate Mom." I asked Kaydon how he would have felt if Josh would have said, "I hate you Kaydon." Kaydon cried more and said that that would have been the worst feeling.

Satan is working on families in every single way possible. Our "blended" family is especially fun for him. We don't use the word blended, or combined, or step. We are a family of seven. Period. Sometimes we use words we shouldn't like, "shut up," "stupid," and "hate." Those words are small, little ways that Satan pokes holes in our family. Every Monday, we have Family Home Evening. They last no more than 30 minutes. That is a way that we try to fortify our family unit so that holes are tougher to make. Sometimes, there is name calling in our home, or fighting over games, or fighting over food, or fighting over toys. Those fights poke holes in our family. Every night at dinner, we pray as a family. Those prayers, no matter how long or short, help to protect our family from holes. Sometimes, our family doesn't communicate as well as we should. Sometimes, we raise our voices. Sometimes, we forget to tell each other important details. Sometimes, we give each other the silent treatment. Sometimes, we take our frustrations, fears, anxieties, and anger out on each other because that seems to be the best place to do it. But, there are also times when our kids come in and ask us to pray with them, they ask for a blessing, they ask for one-on-one time with Dad, they pour their hearts out to us, they want to watch a silly show on TV with us in our room, they want to go to the gas station with Dad to get a soda...

We have leaks in our family all the time. They can turn into huge floods if we don't take care of them right away. We are doing our best every day. Some days are a whole lot better than others. Some days we have to say, "Tomorrow is a new day. We'll try again." Some days are great. Regardless, we all have leaks in our families. I am so grateful for the Gospel, which teaches us to patch them, teaches us to fortify so that we can prevent leaks, and teaches us of the Atonement so that we can try again. I love my family!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Strike Three - You're Out

This boy was in Insta Care AGAIN last week. He fell, while at Mutual. Weird! His elbow is injured AGAIN. His growth plate is injured AGAIN. He's in a sling for a third time. Josh has now grounded him from everything but chess, computer games and Xbox. This boy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grandpa Nef Time

I love this picture so much. My kids have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my grandparents. I was really, really upset when my Grandpa and Grandma Robb passed away right after Jackson was born. I realized that my children would never have the opportunity to spend time with them, to get to know them, and to love them the way that I love them. We have been so fortunate because my kids have had the chance to spend time with my Grandpa and Grandma Nef, who live in California. We have gone to Fresno a couple of times to visit, and they have made several trips to Utah. Each time they come, my kids get so excited. Brooklyn especially. My grandpa is a gem. He is so affectionate, so kind, so loving. He loves to just hug on and love on his family members! Jackson and Braxton were sitting on the couch and Grandpa came over, sat right in between them, and put each of his hands on each of their knees. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said. They spent time with Grandpa, in silence, and in love.

Friday, September 11, 2015

On Fire

Tuesday morning, while I was getting ready for work, Josh knocked on our sliding glass door. He pointed to the fire behind our house. At that time, it was still dark and so you could easily see the flames in the dark of the night. We didn't know at that time what had happened, or what would happen later in the day, but it was surreal to see our back yard on fire. As the day went on, the smoke went away - until I was on my way home. The smoke was spreading. It was powerful and scary. When I turned on our street to get home, there were hundreds and hundreds of cars lined up on both sides to get a picture. I was so frustrated. It took me forever to get to my home to my children. Our quiet corner of the world had been jolted. When I got home, I went out to the deck and could feel the immense heat from the fire that had not only started up again, but had also spread to triple its original size. Josh called to check on us and I told him to come right home. I wasn't sure if the police were going to evacuate us or ask us to stay in our houses. Ash was falling everywhere. Everywhere. Cars and strangers were everywhere, trying to get into our back yard, trying to take pictures, trying to see what they could. It was awful.
Our family knelt in prayer in our living room. We prayed for those fighting the fire - in the air and on the ground, that they would be protected, for the winds to be calm, and for the temperatures to cool. We prayed for comfort and peace. Our family watched through the night as brave men and women fought the fire(s) to protect our homes, our animals, and our families. They didn't give in and they didn't give up. The next morning - Wednesday morning - we woke up to a beautiful morning, free of smoke and flames.
I have always had a deep respect for those who put their lives on the line to protect us. However, this experience took that to a whole new level. I watched them, in my back yard, unselfishly risking their lives to protect mine. I am so grateful for them and for their families.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Canning - Almost Done!

On Saturday, I was able to finish up the canning - for now. The peaches are done and the grape juice is done. I am so thankful for the juice steamer that my grandparents bought me. It made the juicing process so much easier! The juice is delicious!!!
On Saturday night, I made some yummy apple enchiladas with our apple pie filling. The house smelled so good!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Canning, Canning, More Canning

I have never canned. I have never done anything, really, that has to do with being domestic. :) I like watching baseball, football, and wrestling. I like to bake - cookies. I like to cook - dinner. That's it.

This year, I realized that I had to do something for financial reasons. My mom offered up her apple tree to us. My brother and sister-in-law offered their apple tree to us. One of our peach trees was producing like crazy. Martha gave us a lot of amazing stuff, and walked me through freezing, canning, etc.

So far this past month, I have bottled one dozen quarts of applesauce (which Josh made and it's beyond delicious), two dozen quarts of apple pie filling, and two dozen quarts of peaches. We also did pickles earlier. I used the rest of our apples to make four dozen apple cinnamon muffins. I baked them, bagged them, and froze them for breakfasts or snacks. I also bagged and froze a dozen bags of peaches. I love grabbing these for easy lunches! We have about another two dozen quarts worth of peaches to bottle.

Soon, we will have grapes ready to make grape juice and pears ready to bottle. I still have corn that needs to be cut and frozen, as well as tomatoes that need to be made into salsa.

I am beyond grateful for the examples of my mom and grandma, who canned all my life. We always, always had bottles of fruit in our house. I am grateful for the lessons that I was taught young so that I can be the wife and mom I need to be now. I am also so, extremely grateful for the fruit and veges we have been given and for the tree that produced our peaches.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back To School Shopping

Saturday was very fun. Uncle Brandon and Aunt Carrie met us at Farmington Station and took the boys - two by two - to buy school clothes at the shops. Uncle Brandon, Aunt Carrie, Uncle Logan, Uncle Skip, Papa & Grandma, Nana and Pops all donated money to the school clothes fund and the boys were able to get some great clothes for the year!

Brooklyn played on the equipment and Josh and I hung out on the padded benches while they did the hard work! We are so blessed with a supportive family!

Grandma LeAnne bought the boys clothes right before school started and Papa Bruce gave them each money for their birthdays so that they would have spending money. We love our family!